Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hunger Games Review Part 3 (Final Part)

Hunger Games Review Part 3- The Arena and Ending

The Bloodbath was great. It was done very well camera work wise and you understood what was happening without seeing graphic throat slashing. I also liked how Katniss and FoxFace ran into each other and then ran away. I don’t remember if that’s in the book (reference check for later!), but if it wasn’t that was a great choice to set the Tributes apart from the Careers.
            A comment about the sleeping bag Katniss had- why didn’t she use it more than once? There was only one scene where she actually sleeps in the bag and that was all! In my opinion, the bag should have been used more or it should have been cut out.

One of the most major sore points I had with the movie through the Arena stuff was how much commentary there was from Caesar and all of the Gamemaker scenes. The only scene with Caesar that was really needed was when he was explaining the Tracker Jackers, even that could have been rewritten with a piece of dialogue between Rue and Katniss.
Most of the Gamemaker stuff could have been cut out. I appreciated how they were showing the “behind the scenes” stuff that you don’t get in the book, but the scenes themselves only needed to be half the length that they were. They could have put in more bookverse and little plot points that would have made the main characters richer and more relatable. One of my issues with this movie is that I felt a lot of the time like I knew the secondary characters better than Katniss, Gale, and Peeta. I know that doesn’t really apply to Gale since he’s not in much of this movie, but he’s mentioned in a fair part of the book since it’s written from Katniss’ POV.
Here is my list of gamemaker scenes with my comments (no, I don’t remember specifically where they all were in the movie):
Scene 1- Fine (I think this was countdown stuff)
Scene 2- Fine (Don’t remember where)
Scene 3- Okay-ish, could have been cut. (Don’t remember where)
Scene 4- Could have been cut down (Burning Tree stuff)
Scene 5- Really? (In other words- not needed)
Scene 6- Could be cut and go straight to Muttation chase scene (Would have been scarier in a good way).

Next thing- the Careers. Side note- did anyone else think the guy who played Marvel resembled Cumberpatch just a little bit? Anywho- I liked the Careers in the movie. They weren’t really how I pictured them in the book, but they were well done. Never thought Cato and Glimmer were a “thing” but that was an interesting choice and it was cool to see another interpretation of the group. Actually, I think I’m adopting Clove’s appearance in the movie for my idea of her in the book because the actress did so well and I didn’t really like the Clove I came up with.
Nit pick- why did they all have different costumes for the arena?????? Annoyed me both times I saw the movie. Then again, I’m really big about how things look. I’m a very visual person so naturally the things I’m going to be miffed about when it comes to movies is the costumes and the make-up.
PS- A bobby pin was visible in Katniss’ hair during one part of the movie. I think it was a cave scene. The first time I saw the movie I thought I saw the pin, but thought it might just be a weird lighting thing. Then my friend turned to me and said “Is that a bobby pin?” and after peering at the screen once again- it was a bobby pin. Which begs these questions. Why was there a bobby pin in her hair? If Katniss had a bobby pin in her hair wouldn’t she be able to feel it? Why didn’t she use the bobby pin to hunt some small animals for food or something? Why didn’t she use it to make a weapon?
It bugged me.

The fire chase scene was very cool. I didn’t like the Gamemakers thing there, but the arena part was great. I thought the “cue tree” thing was okay, but the rest of it was unneeded and took up too much time. I will explain where they needed to put that time in a little while.
The burn make-up was fantastic! The wounds and blood and camo and dirt stuff was great in this movie. Actually the whole make-up/hair department did a great job in general (except for that bobby pin).

The following scene with the Careers and the Tracker Jackers was great. I liked actually seeing Peeta’s actions/reactions throughout these scenes. Glimmer’s puffed up dead body was amazingly grotesque (vocabulary points).
I laughed when Caesar showed up in Katniss’ hallucinations, both times, it was the funniest part of the whole movie and I’m laughing as I write this now! Also, the first time I saw the movie and the tunnel vision part with Peeta came up- I laughed. The second time, it made more sense and I didn’t laugh. It was still amusing though. Maybe the more I see the movie the more sense it will make- however I probably wont see the movie until it’s on DVD with lots of deleted scenes and bloopers for me to laugh at.
One behind the scenes thing that I liked a lot was the times when Haymitch interacted with the sponsors and with Seneca. In the Sponsor scene you can’t actually hear Haymitch convincing the sponsors to give Katniss the balm needed to heal her burn. The scene with Seneca and Haymitch was needed because of all of the scenes with Pres. Snow and Seneca, it balanced it out and furthered Haymitch’s character.

I loved all of the Rue/Katniss stuff. I wish there could have been a little bit more. Totally cracked up when Rue was asking Katniss about Peeta. Her face when she said “Yeah, he’s alive (not a direct quote)” was the BEST! Totally fell in love with that little girl and hated knowing of her eventual demise (vocabulary points!).
I liked the “trashing the camp” scene. That was pretty much like the book- but why did Caesar have to come in with commentary? They could have lengthened the suspense and made the scene stronger!

Rue’s death did not make me cry. Sorry. It was well done but I didn’t cry. Yes I know I’m heartless. If that happened to me in real life and I was watching one of my younger friends die in my arms- I’d be a sobbing mess, but the movie didn’t make me cry. The scene was good though, and it made a couple of my friends cry. I just don’t cry easily. The flowers should have been closer to where Rue died because in the book whenever someone dies they have to collect the body and they do so once all of the other tributes have cleared the area. Hence in the movie the flowers should have been closer. Katniss’ breakdown was great. I almost cried during the brief clip of her curled up and sobbing. Very good work.
The riot in District 11 was unneeded and could have been cut out- why? Because it happens in the SECOND BOOK! Majorly peeved there. They could have had Rue’s (assumed) father go on a rampage and be calmed down by some friends and then have him break down crying, but the whole full blown rebellion was a bad choice. In general the way they filmed the riot reminded me of the footage from protests from the Civil Rights movement and the anti-Vietnam protests of yore (Vocab!). This is a significant point in the second book, so I’m unhappy that it was placed here.

When they announced the rule revision about two tributes winning, I really missed the line were Katniss yells “PEETA!” and then claps her hand over her mouth. That line was made to be in the movie and it was cut.
Most of the stuff they did with Katniss and Peeta once she found him was great. Here is where they could have put much much more bonding and dialogue and bookverse. The Katniss/Peeta suff is a HUGE part of the first book that carries throughout all three and I felt like a lot of important stuff was changed/left out. They did a good job with what they did put in, but I wish that there had been more. Not more romantic stuff, I think they put just enough in without making it overt (vocab!). But they needed more friendship bonding and “story telling.” This was my overall reaction to the movie KP stuff “Ok, so they kissed once and he told her how he stalked her in an endearing way.” Also, where was the sleeping bag?  Peeta was obviously freezing when he was sleeping. Where was the sleep syrup to ensure that Peeta wouldn’t follow Katniss to the cornucopia? That was a big thing. However Peeta did a fabulous job (as did Katniss, but Peeta’s the one who really has to carry this part of the movie to make it convincing).

The death of Clove was great and the interaction with Thresh was good too. I pictured Thresh as taller, but otherwise he was much like the idea that I had in my head. When Clove was calling for Cato I got chills. The second time I saw the movie I actually heard the crunch of her skull caving in. Very nice work sound people! Thresh’s big brother thing towards Rue was nice too. They played that up in the movie and I applaud that decision.

Okay, Peeta’s joke about the bow made me laugh. I’ll admit it. It was cheesy but it worked and I know several guys who would make jokes like that. It was relatable and lightened the mood a bit.
FoxFace’s death was good. Nice desperation on Katniss’ part when she couldn’t find Peeta, and good facial expression on Peet’s part when he’s hugging Katniss and realizes what might have happened to him.
Note- the stuff Katniss gives the woman in the Hob is actually a napkin full of of those berries, hence why she knows that they are poison later on. It took me a minute to figure this out the first time I saw the movie because in the book I think that they find out the berries are poisoned because they find FoxFace’s body.

Now onto the Muttations! I had a long talk with the Truddy after we went to see the movie the first time, and my opinion is that they should have kept the mutts the way they were in the book. However, UnassumingAzure pointed out that those original mutts might have been too scary psychologically to pull off the PG-13 rating. Let’s hope that’s why they changed it because I was really looking forward to seeing the mutts as they were portrayed in the book.
I found out from an article why they didn’t give Peeta the false leg (too complicated) and so I’m not going to nit-pick it. It’s fine and it doesn’t detract from the overall plotline of the three books.
When the first mutt jumped out at them it gave me the heebie-jeebies. That whole scene was great. The fight on top of the cornucopia was excellent. I really valued the look into Cato’s mind with his little monologue that I don’t think was in the book (Reference Check).

Okay, am I imagining things or was there one more kiss that was supposed to happen before they almost ate the berries? Someone please let me know!
Katniss should have been more desperate and less calm when she suggests to eat the berries. I got a strong sense of almost “acting” from her in the book where she plays the girl in love and that did not come through in the movie. Katniss was much too sure of herself in the movie when it came to the almost suicide.
I loved how Peeta touched Katniss’ hair before he “ate the berries.” It was BRILLIANT! So brilliant that when I talked to a friend about it I started flipping out.
The hovercrafts throughout the movie were very nice. Props to CGI people!

Um…where was the couch at the interview? Where was the cuddling? Where was the act? Haymitch’s “advice” pre interview was a good way of communicating how there were going to be ramifications. When Pres. Snow compliments Katniss’ pin, it’s a good follow up on that idea of ramifications. You can tell something is going to happen even if Katniss and Peeta don’t know it yet.
Seneca’s death was great. The room was a perfect mix of futuristic and classic style and that is how I pictured the Capitol in general. The bowl of berries was a nice Socrates-esc touch.
I loved the ending contrasting the arrival of Katniss and Peeta in District 12 and President Snow watching them from a television screen. The ending shot was perfect. Perfect, Perfect, Perfect.   

Overall- the movie earns 3 out of 5 stars. Personally, it would never earn a 5 because that movie would be too long and too expensive to make. The movies that earn 5 stars are the movies that are not based on books. Movies based on books only ever earn a 4 out of 5 in my ratings because I almost always love the books more than the movie.
The reason why this movie only got 3? I think you can tell from those certain comments I’ve made throughout my review. I’ll restate a few.
I had a few bothersome issues with Make-up/Hair. Things that could have been done without a lot of trouble and it would have made the movie a little bit tighter.
There was too much behind the scenes stuff. While I enjoyed seeing the alternate view, it wasn’t really needed.
The riot in District 11. It will be a sore point. This is why the movie didn’t make it to the 3 ½ stars mark.
Bookverse is the last point. Bookverse and character relate-ability. The second time I saw the movie a lot of stuff made a lot more sense, but they still could have used much more of the natural dialogue from the book.

Overall- they did a good job for such a complicated and multi-layered book. The movie is worth going to once or twice in theaters and then a few rents from the library when you really get a craving to see your favorite scenes and the blooper reel. I’ve got a weakness for good blooper reels. They always end up being watched way to many time on my youtube channel.
The actors did a great job with the roles they were given. As close to a happy medium for the casting as could be for those characters.
Bravo to the behind the scenes people, your hard work looked great. 
Bravo to Suzanne Collins, for being brave enough to undertake putting her book onto film. That's a risky thing and they didn't miss the mark. Overall the movie is a fairly accurate depiction of the main plot points in the book, done in 2 and 1/2 hours. That's impressive. 

I’m going to be cliché now.

That’s all folks…and…May the odds be ever in your favor!


  1. I think the reason she never used the bobby pin is because she doesn't actually do that much survival stuff in the movie. You maybe see her catch 1 or 2 rabbits, and that's about it. She also had a huge spool of wire. If I were to make a bunch of traps, I would want to make them all out of the same material - i.e. I wouldn't use a bobby pin for one and wire for the others. In her situation, what could she really use a 4in piece of bendy metal for anyway? She didn't need/have one in the book, so I don't have a problem with her not using it in the movie.
    To answer your reference questions:
    I don't remember Katniss and Foxface ever running into each other at the beginning.
    Kato doesn't give a monologue at the end.

    Katniss knows about Nightlock because of the time she spent with her father in the woods - and from the book that he made of forest plants. In the book, Katiniss actually suspects that Peeta intentionally killed Foxface before she realizes that he was ignorantly gathering poisonous berries.
    Totally agree that the use of the berries later to execute Seneca was really cleaver - very fitting end.
    Good final post Kaite. You pointed out some interesting things and gave a good overall assessment of the various decisions the movie makers made. The fact that you consulted outside sources (articles, interviews, etc...) is nice too.

  2. I wish you had posted a few links to those articles, I would have appreciated the opportunity to understand why/what exactly made you change your opinions on some things (CC costume choices). I also would have liked for you to give your opinion/state the themes you saw/felt throughout the movie as well as adding a christian perspective and not just personal opinion. You know me Incredible, I'll always want to challenge you. So please don't hate me for wanting a bit more from your reviews.
    The Katniss, FoxFace moment was added for the movie. And as I said before the hair bit? yeah.. happy dance of girlish delight. I also agree that Katniss was WAY to calm for the berries scene. If she came across more calculating I would of been fine with it, but she didn't. The mutts (at least in my head) looked more like wolves, and so I didn't find the ones they created all that intimidating. Also, they should have been bigger. They could have done that at least since they didn't do the psychological stuff that's in the book.
    Over all good job with these reviews. I look forward to more in the future and I hope you do those book character reviews you mentioned to me as well. :)

  3. note about the character reviews- I want to do some for some of the characters in the hunger games books, but I'm going to wait until the general hysteria has died down a bit.:)